Why is there a backlash to the Buffy reboot?
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is getting a reboot with a black lead. As reported by Deadline.com, the reboot will “be richly diverse and like the original, some aspects of the series could be seen as metaphors for issues facing us all today.” The show-runner/executive producer is Monica Owusu-Breen and creator Joss Whedon will also be an executive producer.
For those who are unfamiliar with the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series (BtVS) which aired from 1997 to 2003, there previously have been black vampire slayers, including Kendra who is important to the show’s mythology. There are many questions that the prospect of a reboot raises. One of which is why can’t there be a new African American vampire slayer that’s not named Buffy?
The vampire slayer mythology is designed so that there are many slayers (past, present and future) and therefore each could have their own original story be told. There isn’t really a big need to retell or reboot BtVS which is still available on streaming services like Hulu and Netflix Canada. New fans continue to find BtVS. Some fans discovered the show after the Twilight fad (sigh) and some found BtVS from positive word of mouth.
One of the reasons why BtVS became iconic is because it forged its own identity. Even though BtVS is itself a spin-off from the 1992 movie, the two are very different entities. BtVS constructed a unique vampire mythology: complete with endearing supporting characters, memorable villains, quippy dialogue and overarching stories over the seven seasons. Many loyal fans can recite lines (and even lyrics) from their favorite episodes.
The Buffy reboot is in the unenviable position of having to find its own voice while being constantly compared to BtVS. The most obvious comparison would be to lead actress Sarah Michelle Gellar’s brilliant performance as Buffy Summers. To avoid unnecessary similarities to the previous versions of Buffy, the reboot could benefit from a fresh perspective in a brand new slayer.
The intent of the reboot is for a TV network or streaming services to pick it up. This is not the movie reboot project which was in development back in 2010. The movie rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer are separate from the television rights. This leads to another question. Since Fox currently has the TV rights, why don’t they just build off of the existing BtVS universe instead of a reboot? The opportunity to bring back fan favorite characters/actors like Willow (Alyson Hannigan) or Giles (Anthony Head) for guest appearances would probably be unlikely if it is a hard reboot … although BtVS does have alternate universes.
Once the script is written, we’ll have a better understanding of what exactly the reboot entails. The details provided to the public so far are subject to change during the development process. It could very well turn out that the reboot will focus on a completely different slayer. Perhaps the TV production studio is using the “Buffy” name to generate interest in order to help sell the new series to bidding networks?
What are your thoughts on a Buffy reboot?
If you want to watch the Buffy series but don’t have much free time, check out the list of 15 essential episodes for beginners.